Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
In this lesson we're going to take a look at some of the different Shape tools that we have in Photoshop. Now, similar to the Text tools the Shape tools are vector based. And that means they're resolution is independent, so you never to worry about resizing them after you draw them, you can transform them at any time you won't lose any quality. So to select these Shape tools ,you can either click on the Shape tool icon in the Tool bar or you can tap the U key. Now, to make sure that we're all starting in the same place, if you're on the Mac, if you'll Ctrl click on the icon here in the upper left, and then choose Reset tool.
Or, if you're on Windows, just right mouse click and choose Reset tool. Now, as soon as I click and drag out a rectangle in my image area, the Properties panel appears and you'll notice that there are a lot of these same options on the Properties panel as there are in the menu across the top. So, it really doesn't matter which one you use, it's whichever one you feel more comfortable with. We'll take a look at the Properties panel first because I want to show you that Photoshop has the ability to create rounded rectangles and their dynamics. So, these are live shapes meaning that if I save this file and I come back to this file next week or next year, these shapes can still be modified. And the way that you would modify the corners is either by entering in your own pixel values here, or you could enter them in down here, or I think it's much easier just to click on one of the icons next to the corner. And you'll see that you'll get your scrubby sliders, and you can click and drag in order to change the radius of that edge. Now, they all changed in tandem and that's because they're all linked together right now.
If I wanted to unlink them, I would click on the link icon, and then I could drag one independently of the others. The interesting thing is if I do drag one independently, and then I decide to link them again, and I click and drag, you can see that if I add say, 20 pixels to this corner the other pixels also get 20 pixels added to them. So, if I wanted to just reset them all very quickly, the easiest way is to just to swipe in the area above and just type in 0 px for pixels and tap Enter or Return.
Now, that they're linked, if I drag one, again they'll all drag in tandem. So, that's how you would work with the live shape properties. Now, every time that I drag out a shape that contains these live shape properties, the Properties panel is going to flyout automatically. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to click where it says Properties and I'm just going to dock it with my other panels. In fact, I'll nest it with the Color and Swatches panel over here on the right side. Now, I won't need my adjustments or my styles, so I'm going to double-click on the Word Adjustments, in order to just collapse that.
So that I get a little bit more space that I can see the entire Properties panel. All right. You can see that when I clicked and dragged out this initial rectangle, it actually created a Shape layer on the Layers panel. If I don't want this rectangle, I can just tap the Delete key. And it will delete that entire layer. We also do have a Rounded Rectangle tool that you can use. Again, you just click and drag out, and then we can see all the live shapes properties over here in the Properties panel. We can also see the options across the top.
Now say, for example, you didn't have the Properties panel showing and you just want to change the fill or the stroke, we can click in the Color Swatch and then change the color, maybe right here. If I want to select a color for my image, I can't position the cursor on top of my image area. Instead, I need to click on this swatch for the color picker. And now, certainly, I can position my cursor anywhere, and select a color from the image, so that when I click OK, Photoshop will fill the rectangle with that. One of the nice things that this little dialogue does is it keeps track of my recently used colors, which I really appreciate.
And of course, I don't have to fill with a solid color. I could choose to fill with a gradient or I could choose to fill with a pattern. Or I could choose not to fill with anything. We'll take a look at that in a minute. For now, I'll go ahead and fill it with this light blue, and then we'll move over and look at the stroke attributes. So, by clicking on the Stroke Swatch here, again I can choose from stroking my image with a solid color, with a gradient, or with a pattern. We'll move back to the solid color for a moment. And then, I'll show you to the right of that.
Not only can we set the width of the stroke, I can also change other attributes. So, if I wanted this to be a dash line, or a dotted line, I can select from the presets here. All of the aligament options are right below, so if I wanted to actually stroke this outside of the rectangle, I can choose to do that. Then, I can choose the different caps. So, instead of a dotted line, I want a square. I can go ahead and choose that, and I can choose more options here, so we can actually customize the dash and the gap for our dash lines here.
And then, when we do create things that we like, of course, we can save those. Once we save them, they'll appear not only in the preset list here, but they'll also appear right here. Excellent. If I want to change the width and height without actually going into free transform, I can do so by just clicking on the width and height here. So I can enter in specific numeric values if i want to. I can also link them together and use my scrubbie sliders, moving to the right would make these larger, moving the the left would make it smaller. Alright, let's select another one of the Shape tools.
I'm going to move down the the Ellipse tool, we can clip and drag out with this. Of course, if I hold down the Shift key, we can constrain it to a perfect circle, and you'll notice that it has the exact same attributes as the rectangle did. So, when you enter in the different attributes in the Options bar, you're actually changing them for the currently selected Shape layer. And you're also setting them as your defaults for the next shape that you draw. Let's go ahead and just remove the stroke for now. And I don't need the ellipse, so let's tap the Delete key to remove that layer.
But did you notice when I deleted that circle, because the Rounded Rectangle layer is selected, we're back to having a stroke here. So, if I want to set these options in my Option bar different for the next shape that I draw, I'll just click here on my Layers panel, so that the rounded rectangle Shape layer is not selected. Now, you can see that the stroke is no longer there. So, when I select the Polygon tool and I click and drag. All I'm going to get is the default fill and stroke. Every time I have drawn one of these shapes so far, I was actually clicking and dragging out my cursor.
If I want to tell Photoshop to please draw a shape at a specific size, then all I need to do is just click in my image area. And now, I can enter the width and height. So, this works for the polygon. It also works for the Ellipse, and the Rounded and Regular Rectangle tools as well. So, let's just type in maybe 400 by 400, and let's make it an octagon, so I'll tap in 8. And we can create smooth corners, we can create a star if you want to, we can indent the sides as long as I turn on the Star option right here. But I'm going to leave those off for now.
Click OK, and there is our octagon. Now, if I click and drag right now to try to move this, I'm actually going to draw another shape. So, don't forget, when you are working with the Shape tools, just tap the V key to get the Move tool. And then, you can reposition the shapes in your image. Now, I want to show you what happens when you combine two Shape layers together because here I've got the two polygon Shape layers. I'm going to change the attributes for the layer on top. This one over here. So, I'll tap the U key again to get the Shape layer.
Then, I'll just add a quick stroke. Let's say, we add a yellow stroke. Tap Enter or Return to dismiss that dialog. And now, on the Layers panel, I'm going to select both of these layers. So, I'll hold down the Cmd key on Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows to select both of these. And then I'm going to choose Merge Down. So, from the Layer menu, I will merge the shapes. Now, watch what happens. You can see that the second polygon took on the same attributes. So, it's important to know that when you're working with Shape layers and you're merging them together, that the layer on top, the attributes of that layer, will be the ones that are saved.
Because when you prop multiple shapes on the same Shape layer they all to have the same attribute. You can't have one shape with a dotted line and another one with a dash line if they're going to be on the same Shape layer. You can always make a separate Shape layer like we happen, I just wanted show you that in case you ever wanted to merge your Shape layers. If I double-click on the thumbnail for this Shape layer, you can see I get the solid color picker. And if I wanted to change the color of these, maybe to a green color or a blue color, we can do that and click OK.
Alright, so let's go ahead and delete this, I'm going to tap the Delete key. I'm also going to delete the rounded rectangle. And this time, I'm going to return back, and we're just going to take a look at the Line tool for a minute. The Line tool, when you use it, it can be confusing initially because I tend to see people try to change the stroke on the Line tool in order to change the weight of the line. But we actually have an option for the Line tool right over here. So, if I wanted a heavier weight line, like let's say 25 pixels, I would enter it in there. And then, we can draw our line.
But a lot people ask me about making call outs. They want to make like a little arrow pointing to something. So, let's tap the Delete key to delete that Shape layer. And now, I'll select the Gear icon right here. And when I choose the Gear icon, I can now tell Photoshop. If I want an arrowhead at either the start or the end or both ends of the line. Tap Return or Enter. And then, I can click and drag out my arrow. In this case, it's a double headed arrow. We could of course always modify that, but a lot of people don't find those arrowheads.
But they're right there, underneath the Gear icon. And of course, you can change the width and the length and the concavity as well. Alright, we'll tap Return or Enter in order to dismiss that dialog. And I'll tap the Delete key one more time. So, I just want to show you maybe a really quick way that I could clip a portion of this ice image within a rectangle. So, I'm going to return back to the Rectangle tool. And I'll click and drag out a rectangle over here on the right. It's a solid rectangle and that's fine for now. I will also want to add a small stroke, but we'll do that in a minute.
What I'll do is I'll click on the Ice layer in the Layers panel. And I'll use a keyboard shortcut Cmd+J to duplicate that. And you'll notice that it became a lot darker. That's because the initial layer, this Ice layer right here is said to Multiply at a lower opacity. So, when I made a copy of it I'm multiplying this copy with it, so that's why I got a lot darker. I'll go ahead and change that just to normal. And I'm going to change the opacity all the way up to 100%. But I only want this copy to appear in the rectangle, so I'll reposition it changing the stacking order on the Layers panel.
And then, I'm gong to clip it by choosing Layer > Create Clipping Mask. So now, the copy of the ice is only going to appear where the rectangle is. The nice thing about this is that it's very flexible. If I select the Rectangle layer, and I decide I want to make it larger or smaller. For example, I might wannato make the width a little smaller, I can just click and drag. And as it updates the rectangle, it also updates what area or what part of the ice is being shown.
But the ice is exactly the same on top. Plus, it's really hard to kind of see the edge of the rectangle. So, while the rectangle is still selected. I'm going to choose to add a black stroke. But I'm going to change the stroke width here. And I'm going to actually add in 0.25 and tap Enter or Return. So, that's a very thin stroke. And at 50% we're barely able to see that. Because there's actually the line that goes around the Shape layer. If I want to hide that, I can use the keyboard shortcut Cmd+H.
Now, when you're on the Mac, Cmd + H typically is a system level keyboard shortcut that people use to hide an application. So, the first time you use this in Photoshop. Photoshop is going to ask you if you want to hide Photoshop, or Hide Extras. In this case, I'm going to say Hide Extras. That way, we're hiding the path that is creating the Shape layer. And now, I can see this stroke. If it's really hard to see because this is a video that's been compressed, maybe it would be smarter for me to make that 0.5 instead. So, I'll just take off the 0.25 add 0.5.
And now, it's a little bit thicker. One last thing that I want to do is I want to add an effect. I want to add a simple drop shadow. So I'll select that. Move the layer style out of the way. Increase the size a little bit of my drop shadow, maybe increase the distance a little bit. And then, click OK. And the reason that I added this is because I want to show you that if I now change the size of the rectangle again, if we come up here to the width of the rectangle and I increase this maybe to 500 pixels wide, when I tap Enter or Return Photoshop's going to increase the size of the shape.
And, of course, it will redraw that drop shadow for me. Now, I do want to just do one more thing to the ice and that is I want to transform it. So, I'll choose Edit. And then, Transform. And I'm just going to flip it horizontally, so that the ice that's contained in here isn't an exact duplicate of the background. Excellent, so that wraps up the overview of Shape layers in Photoshop.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 76576 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 94714 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 62117 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 31540 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.